The Missing Key to More Effective U.S. Diplomacy: Religious Liberty

Author: Thomas Farr

February 9, 2015

Tom Farr, in a lecture delivered at Roanoke College, outlined the often understated yet important role of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy, especially in the face of rising religiously influenced crises such as ISIS and Boko Haram. In order to combat rising extremism and increase American security, religious freedom needs to be strategically integrated into U.S. diplomacy. Unfortunately, there is a “religion avoidance syndrome” within the State Department, where diplomats purposely disregard the role of religion in shaping global issues. Ignoring the place of religion is having both domestic and global implications. Domestically, civil institutions suffer from overreaching government control. Internationally, a lack of religious insight causes officials and diplomats to underestimate the ideological force that drives such movements.

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